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Greece of variations Greece of variations
by Lilian Badani
2015-12-25 11:06:57
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I started writing these lines whilst listening to the “Holy Night” over and over again and having a Sunday coffee image coming round and round all the time. You see, I was in Trocadero (Piraeus) area, close to my house, when suddenly I heard the sounds of a piano coming from somewhere next to the sea.

bad01_400Even though December, still a lovely hot and sunny day. The sea was calm in a wonderful bright blue colour that was not winter like at all. Summerish Christmas, I thought and smiled at just another one of this country’s variations, whose greatest hopes can rely on the sun more than anything else. It was way too crowded, as it is every time the weather is nice. It was disturbingly crowded, as in if you even dare move your car you would have to pray to find a new parking place in the neighbourhood. And suddenly, right in the middle of the noise and the sailboats, the sound of the piano keys leaped out. My feet led me there uncontrollably, just like you always uncontrollably return to the unconsummated or just like the killer always uncontrollably goes back to the crime scene. But let’s not get to that […]

As I was getting closer to the spot, I was very surprised to find out that I was not the only one drawn by the notes. “This is so pleasant,” I thought. And when I actually reached the spot, a crowd of all ages had been gathered out of interest or curiosity next to the baby grand piano. Such a conflictingly harmonic image!... A grand piano, in an open space next to the sea where you could see the anchored sailboats and people all around – old people and little children – dedicated to the show.

The pianist, in a very formal suit as if he was performing at the Opera House, seemed so staunch in his music that - I’m sure - he didn’t really care about the fact that it was just about a brief voluntary outdoor concert, as I later read on a leaflet. And when Scarlatti’s sonata - a part which I unfortunately missed - was over, he stood up, bowed and heralded for the end, a… “different Holy Night”. I couldn’t help but videotape it with my cell phone. 

There was a young couple with a baby, about three months old, right across me. The dad was holding it and cradling it softly to the sound of the famous Christmas carol, spread in the air. Unconsciously, I thought of all those vulgar youth clubs with all the crowding, the noise and the low music quality in my mind. But this couple was different. It was the variation distinguished from the mass. With a different aesthetic. Just like the rest of the people that had stopped at this spot to enjoy the sound of the piano. And that very spot, a few square meters in Greece, was also a variation of the general ugliness this country has been carrying the past few years. And the Holy Night - the pianist had so respectfully heralded before that small crowd - was based on variations too, like all the variations in music language. People and sounds in total harmony, with the gold of the sun and the blue of the sea, respected by the place, the musician and the cause he was serving; a small combination of people and music of another aesthetic, demonstrating for a few minutes a Greece that had little to do with the Greece of bad taste and smattering, which however still existed out there somewhere!

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

P.S. You can watch the brief video, HERE


 
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